kwanzaa assembly

TSU Professor Shares Light of Kwanzaa

by Michelle Andrade
Dr. Terrance McNeil, an assistant professor and coordinator of the M.E.d in Instructional Leadership program at Tennessee State University’s College of Education, shared about Kwanzaa on the Frist Campus this week.
Dr. McNeil enlightened spectators to the fact that Kwanzaa is about reigniting connection to the lost cultural connections to Africa for African Americans. This cultural holiday, rather than a religious one, is about the reconnection of culture and values with celebrations, gifts, time with loved ones, and introspection. ⁠

In 1966, Dr. Maulana Karenga founded pan-African and the African-American holiday of Kwanzaa. Dr. McNeil shared with students about the holiday's origins and how it came from an outpour of grief surrounding the disconnect of African Americans from their culture, people, land, and even God. Dr. McNeil also expounded on the actual practices that take place in the 7-day holiday (from December 26-January 1). Many of these lead to an internalization of core principles. These principles are: 
  • Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) 
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  • Nia (Purpose)
  • Kuumba (Creativity)
  • Imani (Faith)

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